11koski mk/nm

April is Chocolate Eaters Month and National Smile Month. Coincidence? I think not.

Chocolate equals smiles. The math seems right to me.

It doesn’t hurt, I suppose, that April plays host to Easter. I love the chocolate holidays — Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Easter — that feed my habit under the guise of complying with tradition. Easter’s especially sweet. There’s always leftovers.

(Unless you live at my sister’s house. She was jerked out of bed at 6 a.m. Sunday, horror-stricken at the realization that the Easter bunny had, err, forgotten to visit her house. Her kids got juice boxes, Nutri-grain bars and 99-cent, gas station cheese and crackers in their Easter baskets.)

Unfortunately, I’ve abused the "chocolate equals smiles" connection to the point that my doctor told me last month that I need to cut down on sweets. They’re replacing things like fruits and vegetables in my diet.


Even I can step back and see where that might be a problem.

Each year during the chocolate holidays — after gorging myself on the candy I sneak from my kids’ stashes — I vow to change my ways. Each year, I tell my husband to take all the leftover candy from the house. Get it away from me. Out.

Then, the next day, I call him at work in a panic. "Did you take all the candy? You didn’t leave any?’ "

"You told me to."

"I didn’t mean it," I say incredulously. "Don’t you know me at all?"

He likes to tell people about the time I called his office at 8:45 a.m., demanding, "Where did you put the Kit Kats? I can’t find the Kit Kats. Did you take the Kit Kats?"

Because I know it’s a sickness, I’ve tried not to infect the children. They have no idea how much cocoa-based confections are hidden in and around our house. In my jewelry box. Under the Santa mug in the back of the cupboard. Inside a nondescript paper bag at the top of the pantry.

Still, they’re little detectives. I get away with nothing.


"What’s in your mouth, Mommy?" they’ll demand as soon as I pop a chocolate egg into my mouth. It doesn’t matter how stealthy I think I am — crouched behind the pantry doors, pretending to search for the crackers for their tomato soup. They know.

I don’t give up easy.

"It’s a carrot," I lie. "Want one?"

My 7-year-old stares me down, suspicion in his eyes.

"Really?" he says. "What was that crinkly noise?"

Before I can answer, my 4-year-old — with a nose as sensitive as a bloodhound’s — yells, "I smell chocolate. Are you eating chocolate?"

In defense, I must point out that researchers are discovering that certain chocolates — primarily those of the dark variety — have health benefits. Heck, someday chocolate might be considered a health food.

Then I’ll be ahead of the game, having eaten so healthfully all these years.


Until then, I guess it’s time to follow that "everything in moderation" mantra I like to quote so much.

Cut back on the cocoa and start eating more of those carrots I’m always claiming to be chewing on.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Jennifer Koski is a freelance writer in Rochester. Her column appears Wednesdays. Send comments to

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